IED blast shatters peace in Sopore, leaves 4 policemen dead

Srinagar: Four policemen were killed in a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district early Saturday morning, police said.
According to police sources, at around 10:05 am today, the IED planted by suspected militants went off in Gole Market area of Main Chowk Sopore resulting in the death of at least four policemen.
The deceased have been identified as ASI Irshad Ahmad (58), a resident of Doda, Constable Ghulam Nabi of Rohama Rafiaabad, Constable Parvaiz Ahmad of Villigam Handwara and Constable Mohammad Amin, a resident of Sogam Kupwara.
The four personnel belonging to Indian Reserve Police-3rd battalion were on law and order duty in the township in north Kashmir, 50 kms from here, when the IED planted by militants in the market, which was shut due to a separatist sponsored strike, went off, police said.
Soon after the attack, army, paramilitary forces and SOG launched searches to nab the attackers.
Sources said that there was a heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces in the town at the time of the incident, to maintain law and order situation and to prevent any protests in wake of joint Resistance Leaderships’ strike call.
According to sources, the suspected militants had planted the bomb inside the market after sensing the heavy presence of forces today.
Meanwhile, Additional Director General of Police-Kashmir Munir Khan said that after 2015 this was first such strong blast which claimed four lives.
“Since 2015, it was the first IED blast that killed our four cops. Today’s blast was very powerful that resulted in the loss of life and property,” Khan said.
IGP visited Sopore shortly after the IED blast and took part in wreath laying ceremony of the four slain cops.
Khan said that they will go into every detail and will verify and investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a statement issued to a local news agency, a Jaish-e-Mohammad spokesperson claimed that they have attacked the forces party in Sopore. “The Shaheed Afzal Guru squad carried out the attack,” he said.
The spokesperson said five forces men have been killed and several others received injuries in the attack.
Interestingly, the incident happened at same place and street and at the same time where on 06 January 1993 an attack on the BSF patrol party was carried out which eventually led to the killing of 57 civilians in the town.
Meanwhile, the apple town of Sopore observed a complete shutdown to mark the 25th anniversary of 1993 martyrs.
Pertinently, on this day in 1993, at least 57 people were shot dead by paramilitary BSF men personnel belonging to 94th battalion. After the massacre, troopers indulged in arson and set ablaze the entire Sopore market.
The call for the shutdown was given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL). All shops and business establishments remained closed while traffic remained off the roads.
The authorities had deployed additional police and paramilitary CRPF men in the town to thwart any protests, witnesses said. (with inputs from Bilal Ahmad)

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